Poems of Meng Jiao
Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
These ten strings show me no mercy
While they let you play anything you want.
I'm often afraid I'll play something extreme and,
Sitting here, wreck all the old sounds.
Let's reject today's sadness.
We'll stay with yesterday's joy.
Handling new misfortune is easy.
You hold to the old because the new is hard.
On the blue mountains overgrown with wild millet,
It's long since their weeping leaves have been dry.
It's vain to think the generations that come after
Will gather up these melancholy thoughts we hoard.
And yet, here we are, gathering them up. But they aren't melancholy, are they? So Meng Jiao was right about us. And about the durability of melancholy thoughts. They aren't durable at all. When you stop thinking them, they go away. On the other hand, humor endures, as the first verse's continued existence attests. And clinging to what remains significant enables us to endure, as the second verse says. And staying with yesterday's joy makes it today's joy. Because joy kills sorrow.